[Catchup - had as partial draft - need to clean out the drafts... This referred to April 8th, 2005]
Friday was fun.
Dalibor (Kaffe...) had a problem with his laptop - it didn't have the right output for the presentation system, so I loaned him my 17" Powerbook. it's hard to imagine a more proprietary system that could be used to give a "free software" talk. I almost put a penguin sticker over the glowing Apple on the audience-facing side of the screen so the free-software union wouldn't dock his pay.
My talk on Geronimo went will - I hope it interests people in using it for server-side systems they are building. Not just J2EE (which isn't done yet, but anything where they have a set of long lived components they need to manage...)
Dinner was a hoot. We decided to do something other than beef- someone decided that pizza was the order of the day... (remarkable for me, as my CEO at Gluecode, Chet Kapoor, had played a joke on me before going, warning me about the massive pizza consumption by the people of brazil... he never mentioned the national protein, beef...). The restaurant was chosen, and off we went. I was in Flavio Bergamaschi's car (a Brazilian IBM-er from the UK - who spends his time thinking about VMs... very cool guy...), with two of the organizers and IIRC SOUjavista Tony. it was a fun ride. First of all, the average car in Brazil is small and probably grey, which makes "follow the small gray car" at night a challenge. Second, the Brazilians appear to be genetically predisposed to adhere to the speed limit and adhere to a set of congestion and traffic circle customs that I have yet to grok. The result was losing the group, and following the nearest grey car off into some residential neighborhood. The magic of cellphones was of little help - I don't understand Portuguese, but I suspect the instructions were on the order of "turn left where the old barn used to be...". We eventually synched up with another car at the TV tower, placed conveniently in the geographic center of Brasillia (hard to miss).
After a bit of effort finding the restaurant (Brasillia is a totally planned city in which it appears each residential block is *exactly* the same. The streets are of the same configuration, with the same area of each block reserved for commerce...) we had a nice big group dinner. We made a big "S" out of tables as the party grew (we took them by surprise) and they served us with the same style as the steak places - just bring out pizzas and offer slices.
We were reasonably well behaved until it became clear that regional differences had to be settled, and settled with loud jokes about each others customs and language, all in good fun. The language jokes were interesting. I don't understand the language itself, but it's a beautiful language to listen to, and the regional differences that were the subject of the jokes, while certainly exaggerated, were clear to my ear. The biggest rivalry seemed to be between the northerners and the southerners, with lots of potshots aimed at the people of Rio. There was one person from Rio there - he made a valiant effort to fight back, but he was simply out numbered and in the case of the northerner, out-gunned.
I was amazed how social these dinners were. There seem to be much lower boundaries between strangers in Brazil - we would clap along with other tables for birthdays and such, and they would pay some attention to us. I was also amazed at how late everything was - getting to dinner at 9-11pm is normal, it seems, and the whole family goes. Infants, toddlers, everyone.